Cote Win Harbour Sevens
CONGRATULATIONS to our Men's 7s team, who have won today's Harbour Rugby Community 7s Festival!
Northcote’s Premier Men’s 7s team wins their first Harbour 7s title since 2018
After two months of training with constant disruptions due to training ground changes, cancelled tournaments, and double-booked fields, the Northcote Premier Men’s 7s team had their first hit out of the season on Saturday 4 November at the North Harbour Rugby Club Community Sevens Festival at Moire Park, Massey. With no warm-up tournaments or games to gauge where the team was at, the coaching staff and players were entering the unknown come Saturday morning. However, any fears of being under done were quickly quelled as we took on the old foe Takapuna and had a convincing 33-0 win. The next two pool games were not to be as easy going with both games decided in the last play of the game. Harry Carter, who was battling the flu all day, scored the winner after stepping through the line and getting around the cover defence against a typically tough North Shore outfit, securing a 19-14 win for Northcote. The last pool game was against East Coast Bays, who frustrated the Northcote team throughout the first half and took a slight lead going into halftime. Step up Brook Robson, the teams MVP of the tournament, who after scoring a double, slotted a conversion from 15m in from touch after the final whistle to ensure Northcote topped their pool and won the game 19-17.
Winning 3 from 3 secured Northcote a championship semi-final against Mahurangi. Typical Mahu who were well represented by a strong Fijian contingent who posed plenty of problems with their offloading prowess and ability to break the line at will. But cometh the hour, cometh the team, and the mighty Cote lads had shown plenty of ticker throughout the day and a lot of belief to dig themselves out of any situation. A see-sawing affair which saw both teams capitalise on the other team’s mistakes, it came down to the final play again with our own Fijian flyer, Tim Webster-Vidiri, showing plenty of mana and pace racing around under the sticks from 50m out to draw the game level. Marty Watson calmly slotted the conversion to put Northcote into the championship final against defending champs and hosts, Massey.
If there was a manual on how not to start a final against defending champions at their own home ground, Northcote followed that manual to a tee in the first five minutes of the final. Going down 10-0 early due to continued pressure from Massey, along with some restarts that were not well taken, the first half was nearly over before Northcote had secured possession. But what had been the theme throughout the day of just playing the moment and not worrying about the scoreboard, the boys strung some phases together and were able to level up the game ten all at half time due to tries to workhorse Bryce Wainhouse, and speedster, Harry Johnson. With Massey down to six players due to an infringement at the end of the first half, Northcote applied defensive pressure led ably by the inspirational captain, Josef Foley, and we scored two converted tries 24-10 with 3 minutes to go. Massey, a quality outfit, came back with a vengeance and got the score back to 24-15, but with under a minute to go and having to score twice, Northcote had sown up the game and the championship. Massey scored a converted try after the final whistle to take the score back to 24-22, but with that being the final act of the game, Northcote had won their first Harbour 7s title since 2018! The belief in each other and the systems the coaches had introduced throughout the weeks of training held the players in great stead. That, along with some great fitness and a willingness to go above and beyond for the jersey, were key factors in securing the title.
Finally, a massive thank you to our sponsors – Redcliffe Shipping Services & Northcote Tavern Old Boys. Without their support, none of this is possible, and we thank them for allowing us to continue our sevens journey.